real life

5 things everyone who’s afraid of public toilets will understand.

“Oh dear, please… not now. Just hold on. One… more… minute. You can do this. JUST HOLD ON.”

This is the conversation that goes on in my head each and every time I even think about having to use a public bathroom. Fellow germophobes, I bet this is what you’re thinking too.

If you avoid the public loo like the plague, I’m sure you’ll understand these seven things as well.

1. You plan your toilet breaks to avoid the public loo.

Set times for going to the bathroom at home are nothing new. Before you leave the house is always a given, even if you don’t feel like it. Anything to avoid the dreaded public toilet while you’re out.

2. Hand sanitiser is your best friend.

We use the term ‘hand sanitser’ loosely. More like all-over-your-body sanitiser. Maybe even twice. Hey - you can never be too germ free after leaving a public toilet.

3. However, you have a serious fear of porta-loos.

If there’s one thing that’s worse than a public bathroom, it’s a porta loo. They’re at the top of the toilet-avoiding hierarchy. A confined space, half flush and toilet paper ridden floors? Not. Going. To. Happen.

4. If holding on was an Olympic event, you’d hold multiple gold medals.

For situations like porta loos, we’ve developed the holding on ability of a warrior. We will hold and hold until we feel like we may quite literally explode. Yet hilarity aside, people in developing countries actually walk up to six kilometres to reach a clean and safe toilet. So for every metre we walk, that’s about two kilometres for them. Definitely not as funny.

5. You’d do anything to stop someone else’s suffering who has no access AT ALL to a toilet.

You may not know that an estimated 2.4 billion people live without clean and safe toilets. It’s a foreign concept to us, but these people are often forced to defecate in the open. That’s how severe of an issue it is. One child dies almost every two minutes due to a diarrhoea related disease.

In fact, toilets are a luxury for one third of the world’s population – for many of them, walking six kilometres to access a safe toilet is a daily necessity, which really puts our “first world” toilet concerns  into perspective.

I know you’re probably wondering how you can help right now – and the good news is that it’s easier than ever. Domestos and UNICEF have partnered up to make it simple for us to help these people.

Here’s what we can do:

  1. Buy a specially marked bottle of Domestos that will result in a direct donation to the UNICEF Sanitation Programme.
  2. Help spread the word by telling friends and family about the global sanitation crisis and tangible actions they can take to combat the crisis.
  3. Donate to UNICEF.
  4. Become an Ambassador and download the online toolkit here which provides resources to assist with fundraising.

Massive bonus points for doing all four.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to avoid a public bathroom?